Pink

This October is my first time on the other side of the line during breast cancer awareness month.  Seeing and hearing pink, pink, pink everywhere is making me feel a little squirrel-y. Maybe I’ll see this differently in a few years when I have more distance from my diagnosis and treatment. But right now, all... Continue Reading →

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Tall, Blond, and Fast (Speedy)

When I talked to Claire last Sunday afternoon, she said, “Mom, its so funny, but here I’m TALL … and BLOND!” We laughed about how in comparison to most of her tall and very tall high school friends, most of the college friends she’s made so far are on the shorter side, which makes her... Continue Reading →

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Is Peace a Place?

It can be. On Saturday mornings while Katie takes her riding lesson, I hike the gravel access road that runs from the barn through the hayfields and meadows along Marsh Creek Lake. Sometimes I’m with a friend, and sometimes I’m by myself.  When I’m on my own, I keep my mouth closed, attempt to quiet... Continue Reading →

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Somewhere Out There

I just stepped out my kitchen door to look more closely at the almost full moon rising above the trees in our backyard. Right away, the first lines of the song, Somewhere Out There from the movie An American Tail sang themselves in my head. ”Somewhere, out there, beneath the pale moonlight, someone’s thinking of... Continue Reading →

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Loss: September 11

Today my heart is with everyone who suffered personal loss on September 11, 2001. I didn’t lose anyone close to me on that awful day. I was lucky in that. But even so, I mark that day as the first time I truly felt loss, understood a bit more clearly its depth and its edges.... Continue Reading →

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‘Tis the Season

Fall is truly my favorite season. Until a couple years ago I used to wait until October, fully fall, to decorate our house with pumpkins and other signs of autumn. September was an in-between, holding pattern time. For most of my life I’ve operated on a pretty tight system of delayed gratification. Work first, play... Continue Reading →

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People of Penn: Be Here Now

Over the last eight months, I’ve received such competent and compassionate care from Penn Medicine. I’m honored to be part of their Abramson Cancer Center profile series, which includes an excerpt from my reflection on the impact of cancer: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Nonprofit-Organization/PennCancer/posts/ Be Here Now has become my mantra. I’ve always generally good at appreciating my blessings, but now I’m... Continue Reading →

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Lucky

I’m sitting in the Target parking lot right now, about to do a last run before Claire leaves for her first year at Dickinson. She still needs a rug, some extra toiletries. And who knows what else might find its way into my cart? My friend Rachel, like me, was an aficionado of Target. She... Continue Reading →

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The Sloth Inside

Claire is a big fan of sloths. I don’t remember exactly when this adoration started, but it’s been long enough that she’s amassed quite a collection, and I now have to steer myself away from every sloth item I see. (I did just buy a pink sloth piñata for her eighteenth birthday party, however, because... Continue Reading →

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July 12, 2021

Today is the first day I’ve been motivated to write anything since I completed my radiation treatments at the end of May, a pretty long stretch of wordlessness for me. I’ve just been so tired. With other important commitments claiming my energy, I haven’t had any leftover to write, to think about writing, or even... Continue Reading →

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May 25, 2021

I had my last round of radiation this morning. My active treatment is now complete! My feelings about this milestone are all over the place. My hopeful relief is buffered by apprehensive about the phases to come, starting with my visit to the medical oncologist tomorrow to begin my tamoxifen regimen. Hopefully my body will... Continue Reading →

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May 21, 2021

With only two rounds of radiation left I’m feeling ambivalent about the end of active treatment. The last six doses are called boost doses, extra hits of radiation aimed directly at the tumor bed. Like the skin now rapidly blooming into blisters across my chest, my reserves of determination, positivity, and calm are intact but... Continue Reading →

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May 11, 2021: Panic

Over the halfway mark — twelve down, nine to go. If all goes as planned (how many times have I said that?) two weeks from today I’ll have my final radiation treatment and move on to the next step. This phase of cancer has been the most intense for me. I’d been warned before radiation... Continue Reading →

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April 29, 2021

Three days in, here’s what I’ve learned about radiation, at least my individual experience: The relief I feel moving forward to the next stage of the treatment process is real and not to be discounted. And I enumerate daily how fortunate I am overall— I have excellent healthcare available to me, the miracles of microbiology... Continue Reading →

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April 27, 2021

I started my radiation treatments yesterday as planned. Went back this morning, so two down, nineteen to go. I will have treatments every day, Monday through Friday, through May 24. Usually when I sit down to write these updates, as the info starts to flow, a flood of feeling flows right alongside — I end... Continue Reading →

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April 17, 2021: Dance!

This morning I was so happy to be able to watch Claire perform in a dance competition. With so many performances being held virtually or just cancelled in the past year, it did my heart good to see her dance for real, in person, in an auditorium, on a stage, especially now in the final... Continue Reading →

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April 14

Quick update: Insurance hold up has been cleared up. I had my CT scan simulation completed on Monday morning. The measurements from that testing will be used to finalize my radiation details— number of treatments and dosage— and then if all goes according to plan (ha!), I should begin treatment on April 26/27. Continued thanks... Continue Reading →

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April 7, 2021

I was supposed to have my first radiation appointment today— a CT scan simulation of the positioning for each treatment, complete with body mold and tiny tattoos. Instead... insurance roadblock! I won’t detail the actual issues because they’re administrative, I have confidence they’ll be worked out, and they’re not really what I want to write... Continue Reading →

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March 25, 2021

I don’t have any new medical news to share today, so instead I want to write about Marjorie. Marjorie is the physical therapist helping me deal with the underarm cording resulting from my surgery. Yesterday was my second appointment with Marjorie. We had an immediate rapport when I met her last week. She’s kind, understanding,... Continue Reading →

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March 16, 2021

A quick, boring update (with “boring” being a positive description): I had an initial consultation with my radiation oncologist this morning. Radiation will be Monday through Friday for five weeks, including a boost dose during the last week to really zap the cancer remaining in the margins following my second surgery. I’m currently having some... Continue Reading →

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March 9, 2021

NO CHEMO!!!! That’s the great news I heard from my surgeon yesterday! Based on the genomic testing results, I’m not a candidate for chemotherapy. I’ve been bracing for it to go the other way and have been gulping huge breaths of relief since I got the results. The pathology from my second surgery showed clear... Continue Reading →

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February 27, 2021

Happy Saturday! It is for me, because my second surgery went smoothly yesterday. I’m happy to be home and resting, and pretty sure there’s no more surgery in my immediate future. Now we’re just waiting for pathology results from yesterday, and then info from the Oncotype test to determine if I’ll need chemotherapy prior to... Continue Reading →

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February 23, 2021

Fantastic post surgery update... clear lymph nodes! This means cancer hasn’t spread beyond my breast. The prognosis for breast cancer that has remained localized is excellent! Unfortunately my celebration at that good news was tempered just slightly by finding that the margins of my tumor were not clear. This means there were additional microscopic bits... Continue Reading →

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February 16, 2021

Successful surgery yesterday! I won’t know full results for a few days, but all was pretty much as expected in the OR. I’m happy to be home, feeling pretty good, just very tired. Slept for twelve hours straight, and heading back to bed soon. Thank you to Angela for bringing a delicious dinner to our... Continue Reading →

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February 13, 2021

Surgery is scheduled for first thing Monday morning. If all goes as planned I should be home again by mid afternoon. Yesterday I went in for a pre-op procedure to attach a tiny transmitter to the tumor. My family found it pretty funny that now I’m microchipped like the dog! I’m finding all the technology... Continue Reading →

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February 3, 2021

After a one-day snow delay, I had my pre-op consultation this morning. Positive appointment, no surprises. Surgery is scheduled for Monday, February 15 — out-patient lumpectomy. I’m cheering the recommendation of this less drastic choice, with faster recovery time and less pain than a full mastectomy. Full results from surgery (lymph node involvement, etc) will... Continue Reading →

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January 26, 2021

I'm truly in a middle place right now, trying to prepare and have patience until my next appointment on February 2. I've been told this waiting is one of the hardest parts. As overwhelming as a breast cancer diagnosis is, it’s balanced out a bit by the overwhelmingly supportive community of patients and survivors I... Continue Reading →

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January 13, 2021

Very few times have I stared at a blank screen and blinking cursor for so long without typing anything. When I started this blog, I called it Plan Q because that seemed to be where most of my days ended up.  Plan A rarely stayed intact. I was and still am constantly recalculating to keep... Continue Reading →

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